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Switzerland asks Israel to leave West Bank towns

Swiss President Villiger (left) welcomes his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom (right) and ambassador Igal Antebi (middle) Keystone

The Swiss government has urged Israel to withdraw its troops from Palestinian-controlled territories and leave the towns of Nablus and Tulkarem.

This content was published on January 23, 2002 - 07:46

During a meeting with the Israeli finance minister, Silvan Shalom, the Swiss president, Kaspar Villiger, said Switzerland condemned the violent acts in the Middle East, which have cost hundreds of lives so far.

Villiger also appealed to Israel to show more restraint as, in his view, the Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, was currently not in a position to combat terrorism.

However, Shalom accused Arafat of not doing enough to curb terrorism. "The Palestinians are suffering because of their own Intifada," he said.

During the meeting in Bern the two ministers also drafted a new bilateral agreement for the regulation of double taxation between the two countries.

Villiger, who is also the finance minister, welcomed the agreement as it improves conditions for investors in Switzerland and Israel.

swissinfo with agencies

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